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Simon Eng started packing school kits for MCC Alberta in November 2006. Fourteen months later he reached the milestone of having packed 10,000 school kits. Joanie Peters

Simon Eng started packing school kits for MCC Alberta in November 2006. Fourteen months later he reached the milestone of having packed 10,000 school kits. Joanie Peters

MCC school kits fuel passion to help others

Gladys Terichow
January 25, 2008

CALGARY, Alta.—Simon Eng, 22, has already touched the lives of 10,000 children around the world and he wants to help a lot more.

Eng began packing school kits for MCC Alberta in November 2006. Fourteen months later he had reached the milestone of 10,000 school kits.

“That’s close to 14,000 kilograms of school supplies,” says MCC Alberta material resources coordinator Debbie Sandland. A celebration marking the milestone is planned for Wednesday, January 30.

Eng was born with Down Syndrome. Despite limited communication skills he clearly articulates why he packs school kits for MCC. “Poor countries, poor people and poor children—I want to help them,” he said.

Eng works in the material resources centre through a partnership with the Columbia Training Center Community Access Program. His community rehabilitation worker, Edwin Juarez, said Eng has a passion for helping others and packing school kits fuels this passion.

His first volunteer position with MCC was working in a thrift shop—a position he filled from May 2004 until November 2006. Eng enjoyed working in the thrift shop and could perform other tasks for MCC but he wants to spend all his time packing school kits.

“He is so energetic—he doesn’t waste a minute when he comes here,” said Juarez. “Simon has disabilities but he also has a passion to help others. For him, helping kids go to school is very important—he sees the school kits as a gift for children whose economic situation doesn’t allow them to buy school supplies.”

Sandland said Eng’s commitment to packing school kits is inspiring and encouraging. “He loves what he is doing—that is so evident by his enthusiasm and dedication,” she said, noting the challenge is getting enough donations of school supplies to keep him busy.

Juarez said he is personally touched by Eng’s commitment to packing school kits and by MCC’s efforts to help others.

“I think this is a wonderful way to show solidarity with poor people overseas,” said Juarez. “For me this project has big meaning because I came to Canada from Guatemala 15 years ago. This work is very special because I come from a poor country and I know the meaning of these school kits. For me this is something great.”

MCC ships more than 185,000 school kits a year for distribution in a number of countries, including Honduras, Congo, Haiti, Serbia, Ukraine, Bosnia, Nicaragua, Iraq and Sudan.